Win £1,000 for a Berkshire Charity!

Three £1,000 prizes are up for grabs as Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) launches its 2019 Vital Signs survey. BCF is asking people in Berkshire to spend five minutes giving their opinion of life in the county. As a thank you, they can nominate a charity to win one of the £1,000 prizes. Please consider nominating Connecting Communities in Berkshire!

To take the survey and help those in need in Berkshire go to:

Last year three local groups, Autism Berkshire, Family Friends Windsor and Maidenhead and Interakt, each received one of the £1,000 prizes.

Now in its sixth year, Vital Signs uses the views of the local community, along with other research, to enable BCF to produce a community ‘health-check’ report. This report reveals priorities, needs and opportunities for action by measuring the quality of life in local areas. 

The results drive BCFs fundraising. Last year’s Vital Signs reported that a safe home, good health and secure employment are all linked and underpin wellbeing so BCF launched Vital for Berkshire – homes, Health and Work. This campaign has already funded over 20 local groups that provide vital support including counselling, assessable transport, crisis support, education or training, health coaching, supporting people back into back into employment and tackling homelessness.

Gerry Lejeune, Chief Executive of BCF said “This is a fantastic opportunity for local people, with local knowledge to influence our fundraising for the next year.”

Coverage of Rural Issues for Young People

Recently our national network Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) worked with the BBC and gained powerful coverage of issues for young people in rural areas.

Transport and Digital connectivity issues were discussed on a BBC 5 Live programme which Flick Humphrey, ACRE Public Affairs and Communications Manager co-hosted with presenter Nihal Arthanayake.

Also on the show was Rural Services Network CEO Graham Biggs and Wheels to Work user from Shropshire RCC Jamie Yale. The show was a result of a film Flick put together which you can watch below.

Robert Jenerick and Lord Gardiner of Kimble Launch a £3m grant for village halls.

On Friday 5 April Nottinghamshire MP Robert Jenrick and Defra Minister for Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner launched a £3m grant for the improvement of village halls.

There are 10,000 Village Halls in England and many are key for rural communities; they provide a space for shops, pubs, cafes, fitness, social, healthcare and even education.

Speaking from the launch event in Oxton Village Hall, Mr Jenrick acknowledged the importance of village halls saying, “Village halls are at the heart of rural communities; places where people come together.” He also shared his understanding that “it’s challenging for communities to raise funds.”

Lord Gardiner said, “This launch is to see how we can enhance and improve the facilities, and this will make a big difference for a large number of communities with village halls.”

The scheme will fund up to 20% of eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 payable. This means overall scheme costs would be between £50,000 and £375,000.

ACRE Chair, David Emerson CBE said, “We are hugely appreciative for the ongoing recognition from government of village halls.”
The grant is now open for applications and will be managed by CCB’s national network Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) on behalf of Defra.

All eligibility, criteria and information and the application process is online, please visit

Volunteering opportunities to join the team at Five-a-Day Market Garden


We will be running our Thyme Together sessions for older people starting Thursday 4th April and are appealing for volunteers to assist our session leader Debs to support participants.  The sessions run weekly in the afternoons from 1-3pm on Thursdays through to October 31st 2019 and are an opportunity for older people to come to the garden and take part in gardening and art and craft activities using natural and recycled materials.  There may be some extra sessions to support to fulfil our funder’s requirements.  If you are interested or have taken part before and would like to do so again please email Wendy at expressing an interest.

Five A Day Market Garden,
Englefield, near Theale RG7 5EL


We are looking for volunteers for the Green Gardening/Green Art sessions for Adult Learners on Wednesdays 11am – 2pm. You will support our Tutor Debs to deliver a course for 10 weekly sessions.  You will help participants with learning disabilities to learn how to grow plants, participate in practical wildlife activities including pond dipping, sweep netting and log turning and create individual and group artwork and sculptures in the Green Art sessions.

Sessions are adapted to individual  learners.

You will need to be DBS checked as you will be working with vulnerable adults.  These are fun sessions to deliver and very rewarding. 

If you are interested please email Wendy at expressing an interest and provide details of any previous experience.